If you've worked with a professional trainer, or are active in the dog training world, you've probably been told something along the line of "dogs don't generalise" at some point. What we mean by this is that dogs usually need to be taught something in many different scenarios before they really start to understand the concept completely. This explains why your dog might be able to do lots of fun tricks at home in your living room, but as soon as you step outside your dog seems to have forgotten how to do everything. If the only place you practice your tricks is at home, your dog will struggle to do them elsewhere!
However, when we say this, what we really mean is "dogs often don't generalise WELL", because dogs DO in fact generalise, and it often happens when we'd rather it didn't.
Ned is highly anxious to the point he requires medication to manage his stress. He is reactive towards courier vans, especially yellow ones. We do not know exactly what started this reactivity, but we assume something happened in the past when a courier van was making a delivery to the house that resulted in a strong negative association to this specific stimulus.
Ned generalises this reactivity sometimes depending on his anxiety levels. Some days, like today, he is stressed by all yellow vehicles. Dogs see in shades of blue, yellow and grey. This means that yellow objects tend to stand out more compared to other colours, and this would be my guess as to why yellow vehicles tend to draw more attention. Some days Ned is stressed by any Toyota van (the make of van used by most courier drivers). Some days he will generalise this anxiety to any delivery-type vehicles; gas bottle delivery trucks, postal workers on bikes etc... *read more on my Facebook page* (link will be posted soon)
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